Friday, January 23, 2009

January 24- Strength and Courage

January 24

Joshua 1: 1 After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses' aide: 2 "Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. 3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. 4 Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. 5 No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. 7 "Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."

CALVIN (His last commentary written six months before his death when he was already sick): Here, we see the steadfastness of God in watching over his people, and providing for their safety. The sanction given to Joshua’s appointment, as new leader by a renewed commission, was intended to indicate the continuance of his favor, and prevent the people from thinking themselves forsaken in consequence of the death of Moses. Joshua, indeed, had already been chosen to rule the people; and not only invested with the office, but also endowed with spiritual gifts. But as the
most valiant, however well provided, are apt to stop or waver when the period for action arrives, the exhortation to Joshua to make ready forthwith for the expedition was by no means superfluous. Still, however, the call thus formally given was not so much on his own account, as to inspire the people with full confidence in following a leader whom they saw advancing step by step in the path divinely marked out for him.

If I was inaugurated as president, the first passage I would read would be Joshua 1. It is a wonderful passage of leadership, inspiring, advising, and strengthening. Joshua and the people were in transition, and faced many dangers and uncertainties. God gave Joshua a call and a purpose, and he needed him to be strong and courageous, and to find strength in God. God encouraged Joshua by telling him that He would be with Joshua as much as he was with Moses, and that He had given Joshua the book of the law. These are words to leaders and potential leaders. But these are words for anyone. God was telling Joshua where to get his strength and courage in uncertain times. This is good advice for us as well. Calvin was one who believed we are called by God to be faithful and to glorify God. We are to be a people not afraid of the future because we know who holds the future in His hand. Calvin is not embarrassed to draw a distinction between believers who do not have the resource of God as a strength and those who find God to be a refuge and hope in troubling times.
Calvin wrote this at the end of his life. He chose this commentary at the urging of his friends, but also he knew the fledgling church would have a transition after his impending death. I believe he was reminding the church of the need for strength and courage. Obama may need to hear this word as he gets started, but the church, and we as believers need to hear this word of strength and courage as well.

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